Stretching Your Dollar: Airline Ticket Savings

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COLUMBIA - It's a great time of year to think about getting away, which got me thinkin' about travel deals. So I'm devoting this Stretching Your Dollar to the airline ticket. 

When is the best time to book an airline ticket? Recently, the answer came in the form of a researched fact. A study lumped together four years of domestic airline bookings and shared six weeks out, is traditionally your best chance at getting the cheapest ticket.

And clicking your ticket at about noon to 2:00 on a Tuesday is the peak time of the week and day to save, because airlines cut prices late Monday afternoon. Other competitive airlines cut prices to catch up on Tuesday morning. So, by Tuesday around lunch, all of the systems have been updatedwith new cheaper prices.

Here's another little known fact - some parts of the non-refundable tickets are actually refundable.

David Orr is a former travel agent. He said, "I think most of them think if it's non-refundable it's non-refundable period and that's the end of the story."

But it's not really the end. Despite the label, non-refundable doesn't apply to the fees and add-ons that go with that ticket and airlines do a lousy job of letting you know it.

On every ticket, the September 11th security fee - up to $10 round trip - is refundable. As are the two types of immingration and customs fees - $5 and $7 each. Then there are the add-ons you may have already paid for - like earlybird boarding and extra checked bags. All can add up to $50 or more that is refundable.

Still, chasing down the refund money can be a challenge. Airlines have differing policies on the hoops travelers have to jump through to get their refund.

Bottom line: if to have to cancel a tickety, call the airline and ask about fee and add-on refunds.